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Team By Team - Chicago Cubs

Brian Giles to the Cardinals rumors swirl about, but at the moment The Roto Authority will uncover some second half sleepers from the Cubs. 

Jeromy Burnitz is exceeding expectations and Sammy Sosa with a .275-17-54 line so far.  Burnitz has another ten homers left in him as a Cub, so pick him up if you need a fill-in outfielder.

Nomar Garciaparra is due back on Friday.  Don't be surprised if you get 10 HR and 30 RBI from Nomar in August and September.  We might see a bit of a Frank Thomas/Chipper Jones syndrome, where the batting average suffers a bit and the homers increase.  Garciaparra is a nice gamble if he's been dropped in your league and you're relying on the likes of Juan Uribe.

Jerome Williams and Rich Hill are a couple of starting pitcher sleepers if you need someone in the back of your rotation.  Both should give you an ERA around 4, but Hill is riskier.  Along with that risk comes a strikeout per inning.  Choose based on your needs.  Also consider that Williams's spot is more secure, and Hill might be traded by the end of the day. 

Right now, Kerry Wood has more value to the Cubs than to your fantasy baseball team.  With the success of Ryan Dempster, Wood looks to be no more than a setup man.  Without saves and with few innings, Wood is not someone you want to trade for.  However, if you're out of the race and can give up a non-keeper (like a Todd Jones) then deal for Wood.  There's a decent chance he closes full-time in 2006 and could be lights out.  Just don't retain Wood or any closer at a high price.  Contrary to popular belief, Kerry Wood still would have plenty of fantasy value as a starter, as outlined in a previous article.

For further reading, Baseball Prospectus's John Erhardt has an excellent take on the Cubs' new-look bullpen after the additions of Wood and Scott Williamson.

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